Stainless MMI®: Prices Up as Philippine Monsoon Season Continues

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Stainless prices generally rose this week as monsoon season continued to stymie nickel ore shipments from the Philippines.

The operating capacity of India’s stainless steel mills declined to the alarmingly low level of 55% due to cheap imports from China and other Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries amid weak demand. A potential strike in Colombia was called off, too, at BHP Billiton‘s Cerro Matoso nickel mine. Union negotiators want better hours but were willing to extend talks into next year.

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Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap closed at CNY 13,250 ($2,158) per metric ton on the weekly Stainless MMI®. The past week saw Chinese 316 stainless coil close at CNY 22,300 ($3,632) per metric ton. The price of Chinese primary nickel rose 0.6% over the past week to CNY 111,900 ($18,225) per metric ton. Closing at CNY 16,500 ($2,687) per metric ton for the week, Chinese 304 stainless coil rose by a slight 0.6%. Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 16,700 ($2,720) per metric ton.

Chinese ferro-chrome traded sideways last week, hovering around CNY 8,300 ($1,352) per metric ton. At CNY 145,000 ($23,616) per metric ton, the price of Chinese ferro-moly did not change since the previous week.

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The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge declined 8.4% to $0.97 per pound. The Allegheny Ludlum 304 stainless surcharge fell to $0.72 per pound, a 7.8% change from the prior week. Korean 304 stainless coil prices held steady from the previous week at KRW 4.2 million ($3,881) per metric ton. Following a steady week, prices for Korean 430 stainless steel coil closed flat at KRW 2.6 million ($2,376) per metric ton.

The nickel spot price rose 0.8% on the LME over the past week to $16,300 per metric ton. On the LME, the nickel 3-month price ticked up 0.6% over the past week to $16,350 per metric ton. Following a 5.9% increase in the week prior, the cash price of primary Indian nickel fell 0.1% last week to INR 1,016 ($16.43) per kilogram.

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